The court case between the Town of Sidney and a duo of entrepreneurs looking to open the first recreational marijuana retail store in the community won’t get underway until next month.
“Yes, the hearing has been pushed back to some time in mid-February,” confirmed Randy Humble, Sidney’s chief administrative officer.
Cindy Pendergast launched the legal challenge against Sidney after the town denied her application, along with business partner Brad Styles, to open what would have been Sidney’s first pot shop. They applied to open in the 2400-block of Beacon Avenue, Sidney’s premiere shopping street.
Pendergast challenged the 4-3 vote against the application in early December with a hearing scheduled for the week of Jan. 13. But heavy snowfall that week delayed the hearing to the week of Feb. 18.
The fate of the application hinged on reconciling two contrary requirements. While the Liquor Control and Licensing Branch (LCRB) requires opaque window coverings, Sidney’s development permit guidelines require active – transparent – windows for Beacon Avenue, a point noted by councillors, who voted against the shop.
Pendergast’s lawyer told the Peninsula News Review late last year that Sidney cannot require Pendergast to do something that is against provincial law. “A municipal government cannot require what a provincial government prohibits,” said John Alexander of Cox Taylor Lawyers in Victoria, at the time. “Provincial law trumps local municipal law.”
Pendergast has since told the Peninsula News Review that the LCRB has deemed the application what she described as “fit and proper,” a designation that verifies Happy Buddha, the proposed name of the store, as 100 per cent ready to receive its licence — “if we can get Sidney back to the table.”
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